Patients across Derby and Derbyshire will have one organisation planning, monitoring, and paying for health services following the merger of four NHS clinical commissioning groups.
The new NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group becomes official 1 April after NHS England signed off the merger of Erewash, Hardwick, North Derbyshire and Southern Derbyshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups.
This strategic commissioning body will cover 116 city and county GP practices, serving a total population of 1,053,000, with a CCG staff of approximately 450 people.
Dr Chris Clayton, Chief Executive Officer of Derbyshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups since October 2017, has overseen the merger which NHS England gave final approval for this week.
Dr Clayton said: “Transforming four organisations into one while continuing to develop and improve health services for Derbyshire people has only been possible thanks to continued commitment and effort of CCG staff at all levels.
“Our focus is always the patient and ongoing hard work of staff is driven by our shared goal of making sure planning and partnership working results in high quality NHS services for Derbyshire residents.
“There was lots of excellent practice across the four separate CCGs but working in geographical silos limited the way we could operate to benefit patients.
“We’re taking the strengths and skills from all CCGs and using these to improve services for patients, reduce avoidable duplication and save time and resources.
“We’re planning to build on these strengths to embrace new and insightful ways of working with partner providers, local government and other community organisations to transform services and improve patient health as outlined in NHS England’s Long Term Plan earlier this year.”
The four current CCGs continue to operate as separate organisations until 31 March.
Prior to merging staff increasingly worked in joint teams and a new organisation structure, single senior leadership team and governing body was established for the CCG, which has bases at Toll Bar House in Ilkeston, Scarsdale Hospital in Chesterfield and Cardinal Square in Derby.
Staff affected by the restructure have been redeployed into new roles wherever possible and teams have been reorganised to streamline functions and reduce any duplication of work.
Derbyshire CCGs collectively met the target of saving £44m in 2018/19 to attract NHS England Commissioner Sustainability Fund (CSF) cash to make sure the new organisation starts the coming financial year in a stronger position.
Dr Avi Bhatia is the new Chair of the NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
The practising GP – previously Chair of Erewash CCG immediately prior to his new appointment – said: “There is a lot of ground-breaking work ahead as the NHS begins to develop and deliver its ten-year plan and work more closely than ever before with partners in local authorities and other organisations to support people and transform services.
“We’ll continue to do everything we can in Derbyshire to provide the care patients’ deserve and expect while working innovatively and efficiently, using all available budgets effectively in the face of rising demand.”
Dr Clayton added: “We’re one of a very small number of CCGs to be authorised to merge this year so we’re leading the field in this process at a national level – something we’re proud of.”
Alison Tonge, Director of Commissioning Operations for NHS England said: “The Derbyshire CCGs have put themselves in a strong position to form one commissioning organisation to lead future improvements in integrated healthcare for the county.
“We look forward to our continued work with them to ensure patients can access high quality services.”